Close your eyes and imagine the scent of spring rain …
Can you smell the moisture, unfolding leaves, and rich dampness of the awakening earth?
I’ve written about this before but I recently caught another whiff of a fragrance that has its own name (as all classic perfumes do). It’s known as petrichor, which Wikipedia defines as “the earthy scent produced when rain falls on dry soil.” The word is a combination of the Greek petra (stone) and ichor (the fluid that flows in the veins of the mythological gods).
Interestingly, MIT researchers who study the ephemeral science of this singular scent have just determined how petrichor is produced. As enigmatic as the chemistry behind that old book smell, the aroma of rain—particularly pronounced after a spell of warm, dry weather—can now be explained in technical terms that essentially boil down, as Treehugger.com puts it, to “the fizz and frenzy of raindrops liberating the ground’s unique fragrance into the air for all to smell.”
Take a look: